Climate change changed Maine

Climate change has changed Maine’s market, temperature, and ponds, according to scientists and news reports.

Lobster is moving northward from Rhode Island and whelk is moving in their stead because of the change in sea temperatures, according to the Washington Post in their “Gone in a Generation.”

Climate change contributed to the decline of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), according to this 2018 study. The AMOC is critical to the Earth’s climate system, the study said.

The AMOC is a northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic and a flow of cold water southward in the deep Atlantic, according to this report.

“The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, dramatically disrupting fishery patterns and creating new winners — and losers,” Washington Post said.

Over time, the lobster population has decreased in Rhode Island. The lobster population has not increased by 3 million since 2005 and it did not increase over 2 million in 2017 off the coast of Rhode Island, according to the Washington Post.

For Rhode Island’s lobstermen to stay afloat, they catch whelk and sea bass as well as lobster, the Washington Post reported.

While Rhode Island had less lobster, Maine had more lobster. Due to the change in sea temperatures, researchers have found that lobster is moving northward, Washington Post said.

The slowdown of this circulation is associated with the Southern Ocean and the Antarctica warmth, according to 2018 study.

“Continued global warming is likely to further weaken the AMOC in the long term, via changes to the hydrological cycle, sea-ice loss and accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, causing further freshening of the northern Atlantic,” the researchers said.

The AMOC weakened approximately 15 percent since the mid-twentieth century, according to the report. This was a record low, researchers said.

The AMOC had a temperature decrease in the North Atlantic space and a temperature increase in the Gulf Stream, according to the above 2018 study on the AMOC.

“Ocean currents move substantial amounts of heat, most prominently from lower latitudes, where heat is absorbed by the upper ocean, to higher latitudes, where heat is released to the atmosphere,” the aforementioned report said.

Maine lakes have iced out 1 to 2 weeks earlier in Spring during the years 1956 to 2015, according to this 2019 report. By the end of 2015, ice out occurred 9 to 16 days earlier, according to the report.

Researchers took data from 8 lakes and ponds in Maine: Clearwater Lake, East Grand Lake, Embden Pond, Green Lake, Nickerson Lake, Sabbatus Pond, Togus Pond, and Wilson Pond, according to the report.

The study collected data from the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (MVLMP) in the span of 1956 to 2015, researchers said.

Local spring and winter maximum daily air temperatures increased while winter rainfall decreased, the report said.

Climate stressors on Casco Bay such as warmer summers, winters, and waters, according to the Casco Bay Climate Change Vulnerability Summary Report. The report also described increased storm activity, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification as climate change effects on Casco Bay, according to this report.

White flounder, Atlantic cod, and silver hake moved from warmer waters, according to the report. If greenhouse gas emissions continue, Portland will experience a 30-month drought rather than their 12-month drought, according to the report.

Water in the Casco Bay has warmed 3 degrees Celsius since the mid-1990s, according to the report. Between 2004 and 2013 the Gulf of Maine warmed faster than 99 percent of the world’s ocean, the report said.

In 2012, the Casco Bay experienced an ocean heatwave, which was the largest and the most intense event, according to this report.

Maine winters have warmed at a faster rate compared to summers in Maine, researchers reported. These rising temperatures have affected Maine weather. There is less number of freezing and very cold days, researchers have found.

At the end of this century, Portland will lose 15 to 90 days with minimum temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, researchers said.

Published by Heather

Hello, I'm a 30-something science writer. I have my bachelor's degree in communication and media, and my associate's degree in liberal studies with a science concentration.

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